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Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil

General Information

Flaxseeds are seeds obtained from the flax plant, and flaxseed oils are extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingrediented from these seeds.

Common Name(s)

flaxseed, linseed

Scientific Name(s)

Linum usitatissimum

Scientific Name(s)

Flaxseeds can be found in several forms including whole, crushed, powder, or as an oil extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient. These products are usually taken by mouth.

Flaxseeds contains chemicals known as lignans (e.g., plant estrogens), however, the flaxseed oils do not contain these components.

What is this product used for?

Flaxseed is commonly used to treat constipation. It has also been used by women for breast pain and hot flashes. The oil is used to manage arthritis.

Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil have been used to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent cancer.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Flaxseed contains soluble fiber, and may have a laxativelaxativean agent that stimulates bowel movement and relieves constipation effective.

The use of flaxseed to reduce cholesterol, promote heart health, and prevent cancer all lack reliable evidence.

Flaxseed products seem to be well tolerated and few side effects have been reported. Flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water as it contains fiber; otherwise, it can worsen constipation or, in rare cases, even cause intestinal blockage. Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil can cause diarrhea.

Flaxseed can alter the way your body absorbs certain medications and should not be taken at the same time as any conventional oral medications or other dietary supplements.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/flaxseed/

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